Higher Education

A deep dive into research

MIT News

Estay Forno is one of more than 140 undergraduate students from across the School of Engineering who took part in the Advanced Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (SuperUROP) this year. This year's SuperUROP program included students from the departments of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Biological Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and Civil and Environmental Engineering as well as from EECS. Moses recounts that the course professors -- Anantha Chandrasakan, the Vannevar Bush Professor of Electrical Engineering and EECS department head; Dennis (Denny) Freeman, the dean for undergraduate education; and Dina Katabi, the Andrew and Erna Viterbi Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science -- wanted students to gain these skills because they would "be important wherever we go," Moses says. Another mentor, postdoc Rabia Tugce Yazicigil, helped EECS senior Daniel Richman understand how to approach research, a process that can be as disorienting as wandering in a forest.

Self-driving shuttle will take a few lucky college students to class next year


The University's MCity self-driving development hub just announced its plans to launch a free autonomous shuttle service in the school's North Campus. It's the first time the self-driving program has offered services outside of the 32-acre MCity complex, which opened in 2015. The shuttle will run a non-stop, two-mile route between the Lurie Engineering Center and the university's North Campus Research Complex, so students won't be able to take advantage of the autonomous transport for their extracurricular activities, if you know what I mean. The 15-person shuttle will run during business hours at the program's start, ferrying UM students and faculty between the two buildings every 10 minutes, but those hours could potentially be expanded if it's a hit.

Valencian Summer School in Machine Learning 2017 BigML.com


Machine Learning is enabling a transformation in the software industry without precedents. BigML is bringing the third edition of our Summer School in Machine Learning to Valencia. We will hold a two-day course for advanced undergraduates as well as graduate students, and industry practitioners seeking a quick, practical, and hands-on introduction to Machine Learning. The Summer School will serve as a good introduction to the kind of work that students can expect if they enroll in advanced Machine Learning masters.

Dean for Undergraduate Education announces 2017 Infinite Mile Award recipients

MIT News

Emily Sheldon of the MIT Admissions Office won her award for devoting considerable time and energy to recruiting and enrolling a diverse array of students, in particular transfer students, veterans, and Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) students. Her collaborative efforts to attract ROTC students have contributed to a five-fold increase in the number of students admitted to the MIT ROTC programs. Jake Livengood of the Global Education and Career Development Office was recognized for developing engaging improv workshops to help students improve their job search skills and enhance their self confidence. Katherine Wahl of the UAAP's Assistive Technology Information Center received the award for developing novel methods to meet the increased demand for accessibility evaluations.

Voliro Hexcopter Uses Rotating Nacelles to Perform Versatile Acrobatics

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

Last month, we wrote about ETH Zurich's Omnicopter, a flying cube with rotors providing thrust in lots of different directions that allow the drone to translate and rotate arbitrarily. A team of undergrads at ETH Zurich has taken the idea behind the Omnicopter and designed an even more versatile flying robot. Voliro is part of a focus project at ETH Zurich's Autonomous Systems Lab that's intended to give students in the last year of their undergraduate degrees "the opportunity to design a complete system from scratch," which seems like a fantastic way of making the transition into graduate school with some practical robotics experience. It probably won't shock you to learn that VertiGo was also a focus project from ETH Zurich's Autonomous Systems Lab, in partnership with Disney Research.

The New Rules for Becoming a Data Scientist


Is There a Data Science Career Progression That Doesn't Require an Advanced Degree? If you search for Bachelor's degrees in Data Science you'll find a good selection but at many institutions the undergraduate degree is more likely to be titled'Computer Science' leaving you to wonder if you're actually getting the knowledge that you need. Participants learn the basics of probability theory and statistical analysis including sampling theory, hypothesis testing, and statistical distributions. Supervised learning techniques include decision trees, Random Forrest, logistic regression, Neural Networks, and SVMs.

In Search of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI)


As we wrote a few weeks ago in our article "The Data Science Behind AI" the current capabilities of our AI enhanced robot are looking pretty complete. This test is actually credited to AI researcher Ben Goetzel who wrote it down in 2012 but he in turn credited it to Wozniak. The Robot College Student: Ben Goetzel went on to refine his set of requirements also in 2012 when he proposed that we would know we have AI when a robot could enroll in a college and earn a degree using the same resources and methods as a human. As for the wetware (er, software), spiking neural nets and neuromorphic computing models are in their infancy but they do meet the test of working exactly as neurons in the brain function.

Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Search Engines


Currently, Google's RankBrain, an AI process used help set search engine rankings, is having a major impact which is only expected to expand. RankBrain considers the user's history for each query which means that more information is used to determine the appropriate search ranking. As a result, I received an advanced assignment to teach 170 Chinese students, between the ages of 5-14 years in conversational English and grammar. These special type of cells remain in your brain your entire life, meaning you are technically capable of forming new brain cells throughout your entire life.

The Chatbot Therapist Will See You Now


Created by a team of Stanford psychologists and AI experts, Woebot uses brief daily chat conversations, mood tracking, curated videos, and word games to help people manage mental health. Scientists who recently looked at text-chat as a supplement to videoconferencing therapy sessions observed that the texting option actually reduced interpersonal anxiety, allowing patients to more fully disclose and discuss issues shrouded in shame, guilt, and embarrassment. Yesterday, Darcy and a team of co-authors at Stanford published a peer-reviewed study in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, Mental Health that randomized 70 college students and asked them to engage with Woebot or a self-help e-book for two weeks. But using those results to claim it can significantly reduce depression may expose Woebot to legal liabilities that bots in supporting roles have managed to avoid.

In Memoriam Alain Colmerauer: 1941-2017


Alain Colmerauer, a French computer scientist and a father of the logic programming language Prolog, passed away on May 15 at the age of 76. He earned a degree in computer science from the Institut polytechnique de Grenoble (Grenoble Institute of Technology) in 1963, and a doctorate in the discipline in 1967 from the École nationale supérieure d'informatique et de mathématiques appliquées de Grenoble, which is part of the Institut. He was promoted in 1979 to Professeur 1ère classe (Full Professor), and in 1988 to Professeur classe exceptionnelle (University Professor). From 1993 to 1995, he was Head of the Laboratoire d'Informatique de Marseille (LIM), a joint laboratory of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, the University de Provence and the University de la Mediterranee.